Jun 12, 2010

An Interview With the Welsh-Argentine Guitar Duo

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The Welsh Argentine Guitar Duo are Luis Orias Diz and Adam Khan. Argentina and Wales have strong links and the duo is exploring the musical heritage of both countries as well as performing works from their respective folk traditions and pieces by living composers from Wales and Argentina. Americymru spoke to the duo about their history, influences and their forthcoming Album and tour of Wales details here:-

voyage to patagonia by the Welsh Argentine Guitar duo front cover detail
Voyage To Patagonia


Americymru: We read in your bio that you met while taking master classes with Cuban composer guitarist Leo Brouwer? Care to tell us a little about that experience?

Adam/Luis: Having the chance to play for and take lessons with Leo Brouwer was a very important experience, He is one of the most important people in the guitar community and his compositions have become a part of the standard repertoire and will remain so for centuries. It was very interesting playing his own compositions for him and discovering why he wrote them and his conception of how they should be played.
Americymru: It has been said of you that:- 'The duo sounds like one guitarist playing with immense concentration'. At what point did you discover how amazingly well you work together? when did you decide to form the Duo?

Adam/Luis: After we met in Portugal in the mid nineties we often talked about working together but the distance between Wales and Argentina made it unlikely that we would be able to do something serious, luckily in 2006 we got offered the chance to record Brouwer's complete repertoire for guitar duo with Argentine record label "Guitar Masters". After this experience we decided to try and put together a project and use the cultural connections between our two countries as a catalyst to encourage composers to write new works and to research the music of Welsh Patagonia.

Americymru: You have recorded two studio albums 'Interludio' and more recently 'Voyage to Patagonia'. Can you tell us a little about them?

Adam/Luis: 'Interludio' was recorded in Buenos Aires in 2006 for PAI records and it was a pretty crazy time, We had not seen each other for more than 9 years and had no idea how we would sound together or how we would get on as people, I flew out to Argentina we did a couple of gigs and everything seemed to slip into place, we recorded the album in about 3 days and I flew home!....and that was supposed to be the end of it, it was only supposed to be a one off collaboration.
When I heard the recording some 6 months later I thought that we should try and continue working together, but we needed a focus as there are many Guitar duo's around the world, so we needed to offer something different. I started to look into the Welsh connections between the 2 countries and this is what led us to work only on music from Wales and Argentina and to look for Argentine composers of Welsh descent. 'Voyage to Patagonia' is the culmination of this, it is packed with welsh and Argentine folk music as well as pieces written especially for the project by Stephen Goss, Howard Rees and Dafydd Bullock, It was recorded in Buenos Aires during 2009 and early 2010 and we spent much more time in the studio really working on our sound and the musical ideas we wanted to put across.
Americymru: Where can people go to hear/purchase your work?

Adam/Luis: Both of our cd's are available for download at iTunes and you can buy physical copies of the cd's from various internet retailers, just search 'Welsh Argentine guitar duo' and you will find plenty of choices
Americymru: You have worked in the past with Welsh Guitarist and composer Stephen Goss. Can you tell us a little about that collaboration?

Adam/Luis: Stephen Goss is a very important Composer and Guitarist who originally comes from Swansea, He is currently professor of composition at Surrey university. I have known Stephen since 2003 when I was Guitarist in residence at the Dundee international guitar festival. When we decided on the direction we wanted to take the duo Stephen was one of the first people I contacted and he was keen to get involved by arranging some welsh and Patagonian folksongs for us. His music is well worth investigating.
Americymru: What kind of music do you perform live? What is your typical concert repertoire?

Adam/Luis: We basically play Welsh and Argentine folk based music and some more serious classical pieces by contemporay Welsh and Argentine composer's such as Howard Rees and Fernando Millet. We will be playing 'Voyage to Patagonia' in it's entirity during our summer concerts in the uk.
Americymru: You will be touring Wales this year. Care to tell us a little about your plans?

Adam/Luis: We have lots of concerts in wales during July and are really looking forward to sharing our music with the people, details of our tour dates can be found at www.welshargentineguitarduo.com
Americymru: This will not be your first visit to play in Wales. Care to tell us about your previous tours and engagements?

Adam/Luis: Well I was born in Neath and grew up in the area so I have been playing concerts on my own in wales for years, hundreds of them!. As a duo we toured Wales in 2008 and had a great time, Luis even has a slight Neath twang to his british accent!
Americymru: You celebrate the connection between Wales and Argentina in your music, indeed the very name of the band does that. Can you tell us a little about how this historical connection affects your own lives and where our readers can go to discover more about it?

Adam/Luis: Again there is a lot of information about it on our website but I would urge any welsh people to make the trip to Patagonia, you will be amazed at How strong the welsh culture and language is alive there, we played several concerts in Patagonia and the Welsh Chaple in Gaiman was a surreal and wondeful experience, it was like being in wales but in the middle of the desert.
Americymru: Any last message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?

Adam/Luis: Thanks for reading we really hope you might chack out our Cd and make friends with us on americymru. We are hoping to come over and do some dates in the USA so if anyone can help us please get in touch!

Interview by Ceri Shaw Email

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